Weight gain after chemo is over

I am thilled that my chemo is over. I had stage 1c OC that was removed during surgery and had 6 taxol/carbo treatments. I was able to maintain my weight during treatments because I would lose weight during the week of chemo, but gain it back the weeks following. Now that chemo is over, I have gained about 7 lbs. I am 2-3 sizes bigger (went from a size 6/8 to a 10, which is sometimes tight). The weight gain is primarily in my breasts and stomach (always my trouble spots - before and after cancer). My question is, has anyone else experienced weight gain AFTER chemo? I am wondering if it's water weight gain. Also, I have a pain near my right shoulder blade and I read somewhere that the steroids they give before each chemo may cause fat deposits there. What is going on with my body? I think the surgery also has something to do with the larger belly.

In closing, I have to say that I am extremely grateful for catching the cancer early and I know that I shouldn't complain about the weight or anything else. It's just really uncomfortable to have blown up.

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Yes, I have the same story. It's been 1 1/2 years since my chemo ended, and I can't lose these extra 10 pounds. Like you, I would lose weight during chemo, but I would then gain it back and then some as the nausea abated. It seems the steroids that were part of my treatment were the culprit. My onc claims that steroids increase your appetite. I'm sure it's true, because I did notice that it took more food to satisfy me. Even though I'm back to eating "normally", the extra weight won't go away. Guess I'll have to go on a diet to see any results.

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Hi,
I have found the exact same thing to be true. My weight went up and down during chemo, basically stabilizing every three weeks and then again at the end, resulting in a zero weight gain or loss. However, starting about 2 weeks after chemo ended, I gained 15 pounds in 6 weeks. I, too, thought it was fluid, and continually discussed it with my oncology nurse and oncologist. Over the next couple of months, I gained another 10 pounds. This meant going up 2 sizes for me as well. Initially, I was very depressed about it, especially because I was going to visit family in Texas at Thanksgiving and had to buy bigger clothes, and then again in March when my husband and I went on a "Celebration of Life" cruise. At my six-month checkup, the news that I was still cancer-free passed by in a blip--I assumed that would be the case--and started to cry when talking about the weight gain. The oncologist nurse had previously dismissed it as perhaps a thyroid problem; my internist suggested exercise and eating properly; and I had a substitute oncologist because mine was on maternity leave. No one was concerned, and no one believed it was chemo-related. After another three months, I accepted the weight gain as a result of the chemo and, according to my oncologist, could now recognize that I wouldn't be alive today if I hadn't had the chemo and surgery (I was Stage IIIA). I did, however, give her many messages from people on-line about chemo weight gain, which I'd also googled and found out was a medical term. I had already known that the recovery period from chemo was not adequately addressed by anyone, and my oncologist is now planning to write a book about it from the views of some of her patients. Back to the weight gain--it's now been a year since my chemo ended (hurray!!), and I'm still 25 pounds heavier. My husband and I walk 2 miles nearly every day; I don't eat any more than I did before, but that's not to say that my eating habits are perfect by any means. I do eat more fruits and vegetables, drink water, and other measures, but I also drink wine, eat sweets, and take in other "bad" foods. At my last check-up, I surmised that the weight gain was a result of: induced menopause with its suddent metabolism changes; cancer no longer eating up extra calories without my knowledge; and chemo no longer requiring the extra calories either. My oncologist agreed that this was probably the case. Altlhough I pretty much annoyed the chief oncology nurse, mine, and the oncologist over the first nine months about the weight gain (and neuropathy, joint pain, and hearing loss), I no longer feel depressed about it all (and the joint pain has finally left me). I still want to lose the 25 pounds, and don't like the larger sight of me in the mirror, but I know my family and friends are delighted to see me look healthy and happy. And I even, when we're out to eat, sometimes eat the entire meal, which I only did very occasionally in the past decade. I attribute this to the days in the chemo regimen when I would be starving and nearly inhale food after days of not being able to tolerate anything. So, in other words, I do enjoy food now and am not as much of a "food police" to myself, even though I ought to. At my nine-month checkup, my oncologist was so pleased with my progress that I noted to her and the oncologist nurse that it must be nice for them to be able to give good news to patients. And, yes, they said, it was very hard when things didn't go well. So my weight gain, to them, is minor and, although I feel it is a major consequence of the chemo, I don't even think about it as much anymore. My main concern most days is cooling down (the hot flashes), enjoying myself and my family, and enjoying doing normal things again. I know the same is true for all of us, but this has been my experience.
Connie

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Oh my gosh, I woke up this morning thinking about this very subject. I had my last treatment 5 weeks ago. I too would not eat much the week and half after chemo and now that I have not had a treatment in 5 weeks, I find myself eating more. I have gained about 3 lbs. and worry that it will continue since I have always had a bit of a weight problem. I am on a 6 day course of steroids right now for a breathing problem which hasn't helped but do worry about this growing into a problem. My worry is because of this breathing problem I have developed and I know the more weight I have to carry the harder on my breathing, especially if it does not go away. But yes, I do know what you mean. I had noticed the appetite difference even before I had to go this steroid. It is probably because it feels so good not to feel nauseated and sick, we eat out of joy and feeling alittle semblance of normal once again. And the larger belly may be the surgery since your cancer is in remission or in your case of Stage IC probably cured. My stomach after surgery and time has settled into a pouch based on the way the onc sewed me up or my body healed. It is tight on the bottom and a pouch above. Except for worrying about how I look to my husband, I consider it a badge of honor that I got through this....kind of like a war wound to remind me that I am strong, tough, and a survivor.

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I too gained weight after chemo. My last chemo was Jan 9th. Since then I have gained 10 pounds. I started exersising and lost a few of those. I do water aeorobics and Yoga. It is funny you should mention the shoulder bade issue. I have the same thing. Anytime I mentioned it to my GP ot Gyn/Onc, they just acted like, well that is something you will have to deal with. They didn't mention that it may be something related to the steroids. There were some nights that it would hurt so bad, I couldn't sleep. I would have to take Ibuprofen before I went to bed. However I think the Yoga is helping. It doesn't hurt quite so bad anymore. Like you I am so grateful that my cancer is in remission, that I hated to complain about that.

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I too had a weight gain during and after chemo, I went on a all natural diet, no processed foods, veggies, fruit, no processed sugars, limit the wheat. I eat only spelt. It seems that the chemo, really hurts are digestive system, so the body has a hard time breaking down the foods i ellimated. I added enezymes to my diet and i am a great weight now. I thought that my help some people. karen

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Hi
I gained som much weight during chemo. I have a jelly belly.
I went on www.realage.com and there are some wonderful eating plans and info to help with getting rid of extra weight and learning to eat healthy.
Dr oz from oprah show and another doc have this web site.

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I to have gain weight during chem. I have one session left to complete and am looking forward to the end and hopefully complete remission. As far as the weight gain, I really do not care. I will try and lose some after chemo, but if I stay the way I am, I will be happy just to feel good and be able to do some of the things with my kids that I could not do all summer long. I am a size 12 which is the biggest I have ever been. I was a size 8 so I will not complain. We all should be happy that our kids, family, husbands love us for us. This is a true test of love.

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I lost 40 lbs. during my chemo but after I too have also gained weight. I think with so many of us having weight gain after finishing makes me think it has something to do with steroids we recieved with our treatments. But I am so happy to here that I do not concern myself with it. In the end I am sure we will all get back to normal weights and so on. Thank God we are alive

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Thank you all for your replies.

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I lost 20 pounds during chemo. When I began to feel better, I went back to my regular eating. I have gained all the weight back. I would like to be ten pounds lighter, but my husband says my current weight may be my "normal" weight and not to worry. Everyone tells me I look great. I guess I will just have to accept it. I have tried diets, but when I finish them, the weight comes back. I do watch what I eat.

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I am in the same stage as LisainMaine. I have one more treatment to go on Aug 27, then I am done and hopefully can enjoy remission for awhile.
Unlike some of you though, I have gained a considerable amount of weight (30 lbs.) during chemo. When I started, I weighed 120 lbs, I now weigh 150 lbs. I only am 5'2" so it is really noticeable. My doctor has recommended I wait until 4-6 weeks after my last chemo treatment to go on a diet, which I am eagerly awaiting beginning. I don't feel attractive to my husband any more and it is really bothering me.

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Steroids can cause weight gain. Why are they used during chemo?

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I lost 30 lbs during treatment, then when I finished in Feb. suddenly everything tasted good again and I gained 20 back. It makes me very unhappy but I don't seem to be able to do anything about it. Oh well, guess thats just part of the trade-off. Let's be "fat and happy"(and alive)!

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I decided to have the CT (approved test) and CA125. They both came back good (CA125 is at 5). If I decide to pay for it myself, I think it would be best to wait until some time passes since my chemo just ended in July. My doctor thinks I'd be throwing my money away.

(Sport - steroids are used to prevent allergic reaction to chemo).

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My last comment was posted to the wrong discussion. I was commenting on the fact that BCBS denied me a PET scan. Sorry for confusion.

Again, thanks for all of your posts.

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I too have gained weight during chemo. When I was first diagnosed, this past April, I was at a good weight for me, but had been struggling with "emotional eating" since my sister was diagnosed with uterine cancer in November. After my diagnoses, I immediately started eating better, cut out sugar, ate more fruits and vegetables, etc. In fact, I remember feeling as if I'd finally been freed of a lifelong problem of using food to "self-medicate". This was a huge relief and in many ways I felt better than I'd ever felt in my life, even though I was recovering from a hysterectomy and dealing with a cancer diagnoses and my sister's death. I wasn't even tempted by the old "self-medicating", non-nutritious foods that used to be a problem for me.

It wasn't until I made the very difficult decision to start chemo (my sister died in February, 5 days after trying a new chemo formula, so I was very hesitant) that I found myself once again being tempted by "self-medicating" types of food. I think on some level I'm feeling sorry for myself because I have to have chemo, and my sister died, and I have had all the responsibility for her world, and my 85 year old mom is needing more and more of my time and energy and therefore I am more tempted to "self-medicate" with food.

I think although I finally decided to do the chemo, I was doing it mostly because so many people were urging me to, rather than because I really thought it was the right thing for me. So maybe that's part of my problem.

I don't drink or smoke or do recreational drugs, or shop a lot, so food is my "drug of choice" I guess. Maybe writing this out will make me more aware of what I'm doing.

Weight has been an issue for me for most of my life. At one time I was about 40 pounds overweight for about 10 years but in the past 5 years or so I've been at a good weight, and have felt so much better. I realized how much time and energy I had been devoting to my weight issues, and was so relieved to be able to use that time and energy more productively once the weight issues were gone.

Now I see myself slipping back with this new chemo weight (almost 10 pounds). I see my weight gain and emotional state as very closely connected. Maybe I just need to express my feelings about the chemo and my cancer situation more honestly. I try to focus on the positive so much, maybe I'm burying my true feelings. I don't want to complain to my friends or family. Maybe I'll write in a journal. Any suggestions or comments? Thanks! Mary

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